Look out Latrobe

The Thoroughbred has come to town

Clip art (c) Ken Houghton Rail Images


Back in the 1850's when the Pennsylvania Railroad mainline from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh PA was being surveyed, Oliver J. Barnes, one of their engineers was planning to build an extensive railyard in the Loyalhanna Creek Valley just west of the Chestnut Ridge. Instead he built the railyards 4 miles northeast at what he called Derry Station. At the original location he made plans for a town which he named Latrobe in honor of his friend Benjamin Latrobe, the B & O Railroads Chief Engineer.

Benjamin Latrobe was the son of Benjamin H. Latrobe, the architect of The United States Capitol, and the uncle of Mayor Latrobe of Baltimore. He is well known for laying out the Sand Patch Route from Cumberland MD to Connellsville PA and the West End from Cumberland to Grafton WV.

Benjamin Latrobe never visited the town named after him, and if he was alive and visited Latrobe today I'm sure he would be pleased that such a wonderful place bore his name. He might be confused by the fact that close to half of the residents mis-pronounce his name calling it Laytrobe. Oh well! Small price to pay for having a city named after you.

Today Latrobe is still located on the railroad. Norfolk-Southern has about fifty main line trains passing through each day, as well as a local that is based here. Maintenance of Way also has a base of operations here. AMTRAK stops here with the "Pennsylvanian".. The Pennsylvanian provides service between New York and Pittsburgh, with a four hour layover you can connect to or from “The Capitol Limited  and Chicago.  There are many good railfan spots in: Latrobe-Derry-Torrance (CP-Pack)-Bolivar(near CP-Conpitt). Summerhill-Cassandra-Lilly-Cresson-Gallitzin-Horshoe Curve are all within a 2 hour drive. Norfolk Southerns road radio frequency is 160.800 The nearest defect detectors are located at Greensburg and Hillside PA Visit my railfan page and check out the Latrobe PA Railfan Guide.

Latrobe is a thriving commercial center. Some of the products manufactured here are:    Plastics, Kennametal & Latrobe Steel - Specialty Metals, and Saint Gobain – Ceramic Materials.  We have a vital general aviation field, Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, which also has several Spirit Airlines flights to Myrtle Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa. You may rent cars from Budget, Hertz and Enterprise at the airport.

Arnold Palmer was a native and resident much of the year. Mister (Fred) Rogers was  a native. Thanks to them and their leadership, we can boast of having a first rate hospital, Ecela Latrobe Area Hospital. Latrobe is also home to Saint Vincent's College a highly rated school.

For more information contact the Latrobe Area Chamber of Commerce.

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